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Things seem to be progressing along nicely in the American Airlines and US Airways merger, which on the whole is a good thing (as opposed to everything being a hot mess), but it does mean you need to be very sure that you are personally ready for the two frequent flyer programs to become one. In other words, be sure that you have maximized anything related to US Airways Dividend Miles before it goes away for good in the next few weeks.
Dividend Miles will merge into AAdvantage within the next 26 days
US Airways sent out on email that I received on 3/13/15 that said, “In October, we announced we would combine our frequent flyer programs in the second quarter of this year. And now, we’re on track to bring the Dividend Miles® program into the AAdvantage® program within the next 30 days.” That was four days ago, so that means within the next 26 days Dividend Miles will be absorbed by AAdvantage for good. Keep in mind that “within 30 days” does not mean in 30 days (now 26), it could be sooner.
Further keep in mind that the email states that “Dividend Miles award bookings and mileage upgrade requests will be disabled a few days before we combine programs to allow us to integrate your accounts”. This makes the number of days left to use the Dividend Miles award chart even smaller. As in, do. it. now.
Book cheaper awards via US Airways award chart now
This is so important it warrants its own section because I don’t feel it is getting quite enough attention in the miles and points space. We don’t know the exact last day to book awards via the US Airways award chart, but we know it isn’t later than 26 days from now (April 12th), and we know they will turn off functionality a few days before that. At best that likely means another three weeks or so before the US Airways award chart is basically erased.
The US Airways award chart requires round trip travel, but gives you a stopover. The AAdvantage chart does not give a stopover, but allows for one-way bookings. The US Airways chart also awards US Airways cardholders a 5,000 mile discount if awards are booked 100% on US Airways operated flights. Some specific awards are also cheaper than via the American Airlines chart such as:
- 120,000 miles RT in first class to North Asia (you can have your stopover in Europe!)
- 110,000 miles RT in business class to the South Pacific
- 20,000 miles RT in economy to the Caribbean during the off-peak dates of September 1 – 30, 2015 (including 5k discount if you fly US metal and have the US credit card)
- Fewer miles required from North America to the Middle East in economy or business, and to Africa in all cabins.
If you at all think you might want to use the US Airways award chart, spend some time with it now. Remember that you have to pick up the phone to book US Airways awards that involve partners since those can’t be booked online. You will also have to research availability somewhere other than the US site – the AA site can be a good site to start with since they do display award space for some partners.
Link your AAdvantage and US Airways accounts by March 20th
I know that some people have suggested not doing this to see if there is a “sweetener” offered to get you to link your accounts later, but with the combining of programs coming up so soon, it seems to make sense to me to go ahead and link them yourself if you want a streamlined process. The email states if you don’t do it by March 20th that they will create a new AAdvantage account for you that your Dividend Miles will be transferred into. There will certainly be a way to combine your old and new AAdvantage account later, but that sounds like extra work to me.
Get any available US Airways Dividend Miles bonuses now
Not only does this included the US Airways credit card that will soon be closed for new applicants, but also remember things like the 2,000 miles available to new members of the dining plan, or any other Dividend Miles partner retail offers that make sense for your family.
Referrals for the US Airways credit card now say that referred friends must apply using the link by April 17, 2015. I have no clue if that will be the final date (previous date displayed was March 12, 2015), but that is the date currently listed on referrals. It is also possible it is just some auto-generated default date, and the opportunity disappears before then. I have seen April 12th written on some direct offers, too. Personally I would not wait until April 17th if you plan to go for the card (or a second card). If you don’t get it before it closes for new applicants then the chance to get those sign-up bonus miles and the companion certificate will be gone for good.
AA and US Still Operate as Two Separate Airlines
Pretty much everything I have talked about in this post relates solely to the combining of the AAdvantage and Dividend Miles frequent flyer programs, as those are about to merge into one “New AAdvantage” program next month. The airlines themselves will continue to operate as two distinct airlines for now, so this is not the final step in the merger.
I don’t know if I have any more awards to book via the US Airways award chart before it goes away, but I know that I will at least be spending some time playing around with it before the end of the month.
What is still left on your Dividend Miles to-do list?